Meet the Pest
With upwards of 10,000 different species in the world, it is no wonder so many homeowners want to know how to get rid of ants. Although damage from these critters is usually minor, finding them crawling on your kitchen counters or feasting on your breakfast cereal is reason enough to learn how to kill ants. And how many times have you sprayed chemicals, scattered powder, or tried Grandma's secret do-it-yourself pest control remedy, only to have the ants resurface a few days later? So, before you stock up on bait traps, herbal pest control remedies, and swat gear, take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the types of ants and ant infestations that can plague the average home (and homeowner).
Bed and Breakfast
As you walk through the aisles of your lawn and garden center hoping to learn how to get rid of ants, you will likely find a wide array of extermination kits, sprays, and the like. If you take a look at the fine print, you may notice that a product that says it can kill ants cannot rid you of the specific type of ant invading your home. Knowing the habitat, body color, and eating habits of the pest at large make how to get rid of ants a little easier to understand.
- Pavement Ant One of the most common household ants is called the pavement ant. This ant, with a brown to blackish body, lives outside of the home, preferring to build a nest within pavement cracks, along the edges of curbs, under stones, and in the crevices of woodwork. Pavement ants are a year-round extermination problem, feeding off of things like meat, grease, and seeds.
- Pharaoh Ant When learning how to kill ants, it helps to know their preferred food source. Pharaoh ants, for example, crave sweets, fats, and proteins. These yellow-orange colored pests can be found raiding your pantry, hiding in your carpet, or even using your drain pipes as a tunnel system through your home.
- Carpenter Ants Carpenter ants, specifically the black carpenter ant, are the most common ant infestations to occur in North America. They live in damp, decaying wood and can cause damage to a house or the landscaping. Finding small piles of thin sawdust is a clear sign that some form of extermination is in order.
- Fire Ants When someone says they want to learn how to get rid of ants, fire ants are likely the reason. These orange-red bodied ants create havoc on your lawn, building mounds and tunnel systems throughout. These stinging ants are a prime target for some good old do-it-yourself pest control.
Quit Bugging Me!
Once you are aware of the type of ant you are likely dealing with, you can begin to tackle the extermination process. Most people want to start off by ridding their home or property of any visible ants. This will only be a short-term solution, but certainly a psychological victory for anyone new to do-it-yourself pest control. As you learn how to kill ants, you will notice that there are many products available – some can even be found in your local grocery store. If you want to go green, try spraying ants with a simple mixture of dish soap and water. Whether you use a pesticide or a home remedy, just remember that this will only exterminate the visible pests, leaving possible hundreds lurking elsewhere. If you want to know how to get rid of ants for good, then move along to the next topic.
When learning how to get rid of ants on a long-term basis, you must find a way to both attack the nest and remove the food source. The best way to destroy a nest is to seek it out and destroy it directly, but locating a nest can require a lot of detective work; unless you have a lot of time on your hands, it is best left to a professional. You may prefer to try a good do-it-yourself pest control option like commercial bait. As mentioned earlier, be certain to read the label carefully and know what ant species you are trying to exterminate. Baits that attract pavement ants will probably be useless against a carpenter ant colony. After the bait is taken by the worker ants, it is brought back to the nest and will eventually kill off the entire colony. As soon as you believe the bait has been retrieved, you can start sealing off any cracks or other entryways that the ants may have been using. Making food harder to reach and smell will make your home less attractive to any ants that may remain.